Erosion Susceptibility Classification
To manage erosion and protect our waterways, plantation forestry activities must be managed for the risk of erosion. The Erosion Susceptibility Classification tool assesses environmental risks.
About Erosion Susceptibility Classification
The Erosion Susceptibility Classification (ESC) is used to identify the erosion risk of land as a basis for determining where a plantation forestry activity:
- is permitted, subject to certain conditions being met, or
- requires resource consent because it's on higher-risk land.
The Erosion Susceptibility Classification tool is available online. Amendments to the NES-PF, published in April 2018, have seen some changes in ESC classifications.
You can also download the ESC data set in several formats (Shapefile, KML, Excel), along with the metadata on the MPI Open Data Portal. The current version of the ESC was released in March 2018. Note, the database provides information for the North and South Islands only – not for New Zealand's offshore islands.
Key to land classification
The tool divides the New Zealand landscape into 4 erosion categories that are colour-coded according to risk. Refer to the NES-PF regulations for specific requirements for forestry activities and ESC zoning details.
Green (low) and yellow (moderate) — land less likely to erode. Plantation forestry activities are permitted.
Orange (high risk) or red (very high risk) — land more likely to erode. Most forestry activities can't be carried out on red-zoned land without resource consent. Some activities, such as earthworks also require consent on orange-zoned land with steeper slopes.
Categories are based on the local:
- topography (steepness of the slope)
- dominant erosion process (like wind or water)
- rock type.
ESC and operational planning
Draft guidance is available to help you with the Erosion Susceptibility Classification and finer scale mapping.
ESC and operational planning guidance [PDF, 494 KB]
- Land use capability classification and land resources Bay of Plenty volcanic plateau region [PDF, 4.4 MB]
- Land use capability classification Gisborne-East Coast region (2nd ed) [PDF, 15 MB]
- Land use capability classification of the Northland region (2nd ed) [PDF, 11 MB]
- Land use capability classification of the Taranaki-Manawatu region (1st ed) [PDF, 8.5 MB]
- Land use capability classification of the Northern Hawke’s Bay region (1st ed) [PDF, 4.4 MB]
- Land use capability classification of the Southern Hawke’s Bay – Wairarapa region (1st ed) [PDF, 3.1 MB]
- Land use capability classification of the Wellington region (1st ed) [PDF, 6.8 MB]
- Land use capability extended legend – Coromandel region [PDF, 2.2 MB]
- Land use capability extended legend – Eastern Bay of Plenty region [PDF, 10 MB]
- Land use capability extended legend – Waikato region [PDF, 3.8 MB]
- Additional notes to accompany Waikato region land use capability (M R Jessen 1992) [PDF, 111 KB]
- Land use capability classification of the Marlborough region [PDF, 8.6 MB]
- Land use capability classification for the South Island [PDF, 4.6 MB]
- Land use capability extended legend – South Island errata [PDF, 181 KB]
- List of land use capability units, legend and ESC – March 2018 [PDF, 1.4 MB]
Find out more
- Erosion Susceptibility Classification by class & area of plantation forestry (excluding Department of Conservation Land) [PDF, 550 KB]
- NES-PF risk assessment tools guidance [PDF, 1.7 MB]
- Process to update the NES-PF ESC (on a case-by-case basis) [PDF, 539 KB]
- Plantation forestry erosion susceptibility classification risk assessment report for NES-PF [PDF, 5.3 MB]